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The global Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way we work forever, with millions of people in the UK alone working from home where possible for long stretches. Remote working can bring with it certain benefits, not least of which is the ability to say goodbye to the dreaded commute and extra time in bed in the morning. However, the practice of working remotely, separated from colleagues, friends and teammates can make us feel isolated, stressed and unproductive. With this in mind, we've put together some top tips on how to tackle the negative aspects of remote working.
Take a breather
The stress of working by yourself, remotely can put a lot of pressure on you. Practising mindfulness can guide you through times of uncertainty and angst, improving your mental wellbeing as a whole.
The NHS provides a library of useful apps for developing a positive mindset, while apps like Calm and Headspace offer guided meditations and tutorials to lower stress and anxiety levels. Have a look at our list of mental health tools to see which one suits you best.
Put your mind to helping others
Looking out for each other is always essential. With so much external change having happened in recent years, it can be easy to overlook or miss those telltale signs that a co-worker, friend or family member is struggling. We have put together a few key points on what you can do as an employer or colleague.
As part of your team, identify a colleague you believe might be struggling a little bit more than others, and offer your support. It is sometimes the people you’d never expect who struggle the most, like the extroverts who usually thrive on social contact.
As a team leader or as an employer, you might need to adjust your management style to empathise and support those needing it most, as well as maintaining an overall team culture. Tools like Unmind, that provide workplace mental wellbeing support, have been actively tackling the increased demand for mental aid. There’s no time like the present to provide your team with this kind of support and put mental health first in your workplace, as it can be vital for some of your team members.
Our leadership team at Superscript has been extremely understanding and helpful during the entire course of the pandemic, providing support and guidance throughout this work style shift. One service that they introduced early in the pandemic provided support and help for those who needed it. We started using Spill, an online therapy and counselling service integrated with Slack, for seamless and confidential support whenever we need it.
Communication is key
The upkeep of general communication is more relevant than ever before. Whatever the tools you use within your team, this is the time to take full advantage. Using Slack for constant communication will help with transparency upkeep, while Skype, Zoom or Hangouts are great for video conferencing, among others.
Connecting with others and sharing your concerns will help you build a strong support system for your emotional health and maintain healthy relationships.
Finally, isolation itself is known to be a major contributor to poor mental health. At Superscript, we found throughout the pandemic that healthy daily communication through messaging and video conferencing has kept our company morale up. If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, talking it out with a close colleague via a video call is the next best thing to real conversation.
If you or someone you know are looking for immediate help, please contact an NHS approved support line.
Stay in rhythm
Working entirely remotely can fundamentally change the way we structure our working day, potentially leading to unnecessary stress when you’re trying to keep up with deadlines. Creating an updated ‘working from home’ routine can bring many benefits as a result and maintaining your usual working schedule as much as possible can help.
Though it is perfectly acceptable to take advantage of the extra time created in the mornings by the lack of a commute, don’t be tempted to wake up 5 minutes before the start of your workday. More importantly, you have to create a full day’s schedule and adhere to it. Having a dedicated time for breakfast and lunch, as well as intentional and regular breaks will help you keep the right mindset about your workday. It will also help you stay productive and motivated.
If you’re used to switching to a standing desk in the afternoons, get your laptop on that chest of drawers. If you don’t have a designated home office, make sure to leave your makeshift workspace when the day is done, just like you would leave the office. Bottom line - you need to find a way to transfer your usual habits into a new environment instead of changing them altogether.
Divide and conquer
It’s super easy to fall into procrastination when there are so many distractions on offer. Taking control of your time, on the other hand, can help reduce stress and the risk of rising anxiety levels. According to occupational psychologist, Emma Donaldson-Feilder, there are several steps to better time management, where the “aim is to achieve the lifestyle balance you want.” Our Operations Director, Annabel, who has been worked remotely for long periods before the pandemic, shared her personal tips with the team:
- Make a to-do & to-don’t lists While there are great management tools like Asana and Monday.com to keep track of your projects and tasks, there is something else you need to get straight - your “to-don’t” list. Inspired by an author Adam Scott, this is an approach that helps you prioritise and stay focused.
- Start with the jobs you’d much rather avoid Tick off the daunting tasks you don’t particularly enjoy in the first hours of the day. This way, you can get that sense of achievement first thing and have a clear head for the day ahead.
- Avoid distraction Working at home comes with a risk of intrusion that can easily ruin your workflow. Check out our list of the tools you can use within your team to stay focused and achieve great results.
- Break smart Without a fear of breaking your flow, take small but smart breaks throughout the day by adding different activities: break away from your screens, add active movement and maintain a healthy snacking habit.
A healthy body equals a healthy mind
Even if you're unable to to get out and about to a gym, many fitness classes are now available online. Check out those classes offered by MoveGB and the NHS. Let’s not forget the endless list of exercise videos on YouTube, too!
At Superscript, we organised team-wide video workout sessions with a personal trainer. This new scheme ensures a regular training session, while providing a certain level of accountability - no excuses allowed.
Keep the glass half full
Remember that periods of enforced remote working from home can bring plenty of positives. You don’t need to shove your sleepy self into the tightly-packed Underground each morning. You can reconnect with your partner by spending more quality time together, doing all the things we mentioned above. You can finally catch up on your sleep and revitalise your beauty routine.
Many of us use humour as a coping mechanism, particularly in stressful situations, so look at the bright side. A good technique to keep the high spirits is writing down three things that went well every day and revisiting your notes as you go. Don’t let the fear of the unknown cause you more stress than needs be. Stay happy and healthy!
This content has been created for general information purposes and should not be taken as formal advice. Read our full disclaimer.
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